So excited to share this blurb from Diane Seuss for Outskirts! Looking forward to publication with University of Akron Press sometime mid-March in time for AWP 2022!!
“When the girl dies in martyr stories her head goes on singing or testifies,” Heathen Derr writes, and indeed, in this ravishing collection there is both singing and testifying. These poems sweep us up in their lavish intelligence, transformative imagination, extremity of witness, and wounding beauty, and we are changed. Derr manages a fusion of history and the scorching present tense, and experience, both mythic and embodied. The poems arrive from the outskirts and from the interior, from the dead, and from death itself and its “gradations of dark.” The scope of Derr’s diction is masterful, from the reportage of arresting detail: “On the front line we ate black bread stained with cuttlefish ink,” to the hallucinatory: “the azalea of sex opening / and closing its bloom between your legs,” to concrete wisdom, “ History has a way of changing your mind, when you’re in the middle of it,” to the visionary: “How between snipers on the front lines, / a beautiful horse appeared, her mane and tail / blowing in the wind, snowflakes / gathering on her eyelashes.” Outskirts is what happens when a writer of rare lyric gifts is willing to put their body on the line, and lives to sing of it. –Diane Seuss, author of frank: sonnets